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Introducing Apples

October 18, 2008

There are many ways you can introduce a unit on apples. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Go to an apple orchard
    Since every state has an apple orchard, it’s worth checking it out. To smell the sweet cider aroma mixed with the cinnamon donuts that were just made fresh, has to be experienced. The apple orchard may have tours or hay rides to take your children through the orchard.  The farmer may point out the proper way to pick an apple (gently twist the apple on the stem – if it comes easily, it’s ready to be picked). Children love picking their own apples off the tree. Some orchards have livestock available for your child to see or even feed. It makes a great family outing on a sunny fall day.
    A word to the wise: apples can only grow with the help of bees. It is better to explain to your child to leave the bees alone before you arrive and to model avoiding them. If you become frightened and run away from them, your children will too. Bees don’t intend to hurt people unless they feel threatened. If someone is accidentally stung, it is important to stay calm so you can help him/her. The first step is to remove the stinger. The stinger includes a venom sac, and that’s the part you’re worried about, it’s important not to pull on the stinger. This presses the venom sac and more of the venom is released, compounding the problem. Instead, use your fingernail or a credit card to scrape out the stinger, pushing it rather than pulling. With the stinger removed, apply ice compress to soothe the pain and swelling.

    If your child is allergic to bees or is experiencing swelling or vomiting, take him/her to emergency immediately.

  • Compare different types of apples: Going to the fruit market or grocery store can be an adventure for your child.
  • Cook with apples
    When you start talking about learning more about apples, it’s always important to find out what your child knows or remembers about apples and what she would like to learn more about them. Giving your child an opportunity to cook, with you assisting, is always a great way to get her interested. There is apple pie, apple sauce, apple butter, apple crisp, apple strudel, baked apples, apple turnovers, apple fritters, caramel apples, apple cider and the list goes on and on. Since apples are found in China, Poland and Italy, I’m sure that there are international recipes that we aren’t as familiar with that your family may enjoy. You could find a new apple recipe to try together.
  • Read about apples
    There are a huge selection of books on apples that range in length and depth each depending on the age and interest level of your child. If your child is interested in more details, like how do they really graft a branch or how do the bees help pollinate, there are excellent books that lay out the facts with pictures and text written for a child’s understanding. Here is a selection of some of the titles I found that were informative and a variety of reading levels.
  • Do activities with apples
    You can also dive right in and introduce the apple unit with the first activity that follows –comparing apples by: color, smell and then, by tasting them. Our test buddy had a lot of fun doing the activities that follow. We were planning on taking him to the apple orchard but they weren’t open for the cider season yet so we went with Plan B. With any activity, it pays to have options and to go with the flow.
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